Dr. Michael A. Balazs serves as the Technology Integrator (TI) for MITRE’s Joint Staff, Combatant Commands, and Defense Intelligence programs. In this role, he coordinates research needs and technology transition between MITRE IR&D programs and its sponsors. He is the acting head of Charlottesville Operations. He also co- coordinates a portfolio of small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) programs in support of the intelligence and special operations communities, as well as the Marine Corps. This work has grown into supporting a number of counter UAS programs to include the MITRE Challenge for Countering Unauthorized Aerial Systems. Additionally, he leads research in the area of non-traditional computational clusters and enabling innovation at the tactical edge.
He is known for the creation of the Commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) ISR program. The program leveraged the $150 billion commercial smartphone industry as the core of an open and mobile ISR system built upon advanced manufactured (e.g., 3D printing) physical platforms that can both accommodate the ideal sensors for the job and be rapidly redesigned to suit a dynamically changing operational environment. Systems developed under this program have been leveraged to support both government R&D and field operations.
In addition to helping to direct C-UAS strategy at MITRE, he co-led the MITRE Challenge for Countering Unauthorized Aerial Systems. The MITRE C-UAS Challenge evaluated technologies from around the world to identify solutions that could: 1) detect small drones (under 5 lbs.) during flight and determine which ones were threats based on a geographic location and flight trajectory, and 2) interdict small UAS that were perceived as threats by forcing them to be recovered intact in a safe area. The results of the challenge are being used by both domestic and foreign governments to direct R&D as well as inform policy.